What Makes Fishing In Northern Ireland
So Special?

Fishing in Northern Ireland is great! There’s so much variety. What type of fishing are you into? Are you serious about your sport or do you just enjoy some time to yourself to relax, angling in the peace and quiet? Northern Ireland is considered an anglers paradise. It’s widely recognised throughout Europe as one of the main regions where you can take part in all aspects of the sport.These include coarse, game and sea fishing in Northern Ireland, both from the seashore and a boat.Persons wishing to do some fishing in Northern Ireland must check if a rod licence and/or a permit are required for the water they wish to fish.Anglers should also be mindful of the country code and the overall conservation of the environment.

Whatever type of fishing you enjoy, you will surely find plenty of places in our six counties to use your rod. Here are a few of the top spots that I have found for fishing in Northern Ireland.

Top Areas For Fishing In Northern Ireland

Boa Island, Lower Lough Erne

Boa Island is located at the north of Lower Lough Erne. This is a great spot if you enjoy fly fishing. The main species of fish found here is Brown Trout. You can hire a boat and get a permit at many of the local distributors in the area. If you want to make a holiday of it, Lusty Beg island, close by, offers great accommodation on the Lough.

Crom Estate, Upper Lough Erne

You can find the Crom Estate in the southern part of Upper Lough Erne. It is close to Newtonbutler. There is excellent Bream and Roach fishing here and you can hire the gear locally if you need it. You can rent a boat and also a Ghillie. Useful if you are fly fishing for Brown Trout. Permits can be arranged through the National Trust at their Visitor Centre.

Lough MacNean

Lough MacNean is split by the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. A major section of Upper Lough MacNean is in Northern Ireland, west of Belcoo. The lake is privately owned, but is accessible for fishing and permits can be obtained from Corralea Forest Lodge in Belcoo. The lough is mainly for coarse fishing with Pike being the most popular catch.

Lower Bann River

This long river provides some really great ‘Bankside Fishing in Northern Ireland’. If you prefer a little coarse fishing instead, then try downstream from the ‘eel weir’ at Toome. There is a perfect 14 mile section here for you to enjoy.

Upper Bann River

Downstream from Portadown, there are quite a few bankside fishing areas for around a 10 mile stretch. You need a permit though and there are a few distributors in the Portadown area where you can get one.

Coarse fishing in Northern Ireland can be enjoyed all year round. The Lough Erne system in Fermanagh and the Bann system via Lough Neagh have both held big competitions and hold various fishing records.I have listed the best areas in each county below.

County Antrim

Lower River Bann (navigational canals). Movanagher – 1 mile stretch north east of Kilrea and Portna – 1/4 mile stretch of Kilrea. Also 1/2 mile stretch upstream of Portglenone bridge.

West Bank of River Bann South of Portglenone

. There are car parks, a river walk and 89 fishing points.

County Armagh

Upper River Bann. 10 mile stretch downstream from Portadown including Hoys Meadow, Portadown Park, Boulevard Irwins and Milk Quay.

Lough Neagh

. Kinnego Marina (Oxford Island).

County Down

Newry Canal. 3 mile stretch from Newry town to Victoria lock gates at the Omeath Road. (In winter this is an exceptional area for Pike fishing).

Quoile Basin

. Adjacent to Downpatrick from the Old Barrier at Quoile Bridge downstream to the head of Strangford Lough.

County Fermanagh

Lough Erne (Upper and Lower). 50 miles long and up to 12 miles wide and in excess of 25 signposted fishing areas.

Colebrook River

. 2 mile stretch North West of Lisnaskea.

County Tyrone

Blackwater River (Bonds & Verners Bridge). 3 mile stretch upstream of Bonds on the west bank and adjacent to the car park at Verners.

Blacks Lough

. Southern outskirts of Dungannon via the B45.There are over 70 listed waters available where Game fishing in Northern Irelandis in abundance. The main fish are Salmon, Sea Trout, Brown and Rainbow Trout.The waters are either controlled by the Department of Agriculture or by Clubs and are regularly stocked. By permission there are many other good game fishing waters in private lands.I have listed the best areas in each county below.

County Antrim

River Bush. A 24 mile stretch from Bushmills to Ballymoney and Ballycastle holding Salmon, Sea and Brown Trout.

River Maine

. A 4 mile stretch between Cullybackey village and Dunminning bridge holding Brown Trout and Salmon.

County Armagh

Craigavon Lake. At Craigavon known as the ‘Balancing Lakes’ holding Rainbow Trout.

County Down

Ballykeel. West of Ballynahinch on the A49 holding Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout.

Castlewellen Lake

. In Castlewellen Forest via the town centre holding Brown and Rainbow Trout.
Shimna. A 2.5 mile stretch in Tullymore forest park, Newcastle holding Salmon and Sea Trout.

County Fermanagh

Lower Lough Erne. Northern Ireland’s largest single game water. 27065 acres and in excess of 20 signposted fishing areas, holding Brown and Sea Trout and Salmon.

Lough Melvin

. West of Enniskillen on the A4 for 9 miles holding Salmon, Grilse and Brown Trout.

County Londonderry

Faughan. A 29 mile stretch of the river from Feeny to the river mouth holding Sea Trout and Salmon.

River Roe

. A 5 mile stretch from Dungiven to Burnfoot Bridge and a 34 mile stretch from Burnfoot to the river mouth, holding Brown and Sea Trout and Salmon.

County Tyrone

Blackwater River. A 1.5 mile stretch upstream of Blackwater town bridge and downstream of the island holding Salmon and Brown Trout.

Braden Lough

. In Lough Braden Forest adjacent to Drumguin town, holding Brown Trout.

Permission Granted To Use Photo By Stepbar (Flickr)

Boat fishing off the coast of Northern Ireland provides the sea angler with great variety. There are 300 miles of coastline with strands and rocks, stretching from Magilligan Point to Carlingford Lough.The best areas with a variety of fish species are:

Causeway Coast – Plaice, Haddock, Brill, Megrim and Cod.

East Antrim Coast – Pollack, Coalfish, Conger eel, Dogfish and Rays.

Strangford Lough – Skate, Tope, Spurdog, Huss and Thornback Ray.

Causeway Coast (Magilligan Strand) – Beach fishing for Flounder.

County Antrim Coast (Glenarm) – Beach fishing for Flat fish, Codling and Conger eel.

County Down Coast (Ardglass) – Beach fishing for Mackerel, Wrasse, Codling and Dogfish.

If you’ve been fishing in Northern Ireland at any of these areas, then please share your experience with our readers. Help other Anglers make informed decisions about where they fish. Leave your comments here and I will add them to this page. Thankyou.

Joe McGookin from County Down, Northern Ireland

We visited Strangford Lough – Whiterock area near dead mans rock. There was loads of Mackrael. We caught that many, we had to start letting them go and was surprised to find some Cod but only tiddlers. My friend had something massive on his line but then it snapped.

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